You already know about Gmail. You’ve probably even used Google Docs a few times. But why are Google Apps something that you want for your non-profit?
There are lots of benefits, but the main reason is this:
Google Apps provides a simple way to create and manage email addresses for your business’s web domain (i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, etc). And for non-profits it’s free. (For-profits spend $50/user/year for this service!)
You might already have email through your domain provider or your web hosting company, but these email interfaces are typically short on features and difficult to manage. You don’t want to have to pay an IT staff to maintain your website and emails — you need an email service that just works.
Say you own the website yourwebsite.org. With Google Apps, setting up emails addresses such as email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org is a snap. You can easily create email addresses for your staff and volunteers — all hosted with Gmail’s best-in-class interface — and then take advantage of all of the great collaboration features that Google Docs has to offer.
To get started, you have to sign up for the Non-profit program with Google. The process is simple and just requires that you provide your EIN, Tax Exempt number, and some other information about your organization. Google processes these requests quickly (the site says that may take several weeks, but my application was approved in just one or two days).
At the end of the day, Google Apps is going to take away a lot of IT headaches and save you time and money. Here are a few more links to help you get going and learn more: